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New Zealand are the inaugural women’s World Cup 9s champions following a tense 17-15 victory over Australia.

Jillaroos flyer Tiana Penitani opened the scoring with her fifth try of the tournament but New Zealand bettered that as player of the tournament Raecene McGregor stepped through to reach the bonus zone.

Australia fought back to take an 8-7 advantage into half-time after their co-captains combined, Ali Brigginshaw popping a smart offload for Kezie Apps to power over.

The Kiwi Ferns scored first after the break via Jules Newman before Corban McGregor gave the advantage to the Jillaroos again with a precious bonus-zone try.

But a dummy-half barge-over from Nita Maynard gave the Kiwi Ferns what turned out to be a winning lead, with goal-kicking proving the difference.